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The announcement of Google Offers will make a splash. No big deal. But what are the implications? Here are some factors to consider:  

1. Conversion Tracking

For many local businesses the hardest part about search marketing is tracking to conversion. If they
could see the effectiveness, they’d probably spend more.  Google offers could provide some relief. The product or service is essentially pre-paid, and trackable.

2. Monetizing Google Places

Google’s style has always been to build something, make it really good, attract users, win their
confidence– then think about making money off it.  Their first crack, “Google Tags,” was abandoned, and Boost isn’t a game changer, but with a more proven business model for SMB’s and the inherent tracking advantages to pre-paid coupons, Google Offers may be the prompt to make money from Google
Places.

3. Mobile Location Based Service

Have you heard of Google Latitude? No? I’m not surprised. Latitude is Google’s location monitoring ‘product,’ it has quietly ramped up its features.  When I first started using Google Latitude, it told me how many miles I traveled, where I was, and how many more miles I needed to get to the Moon.  Now Google
Latitude is integrated with Google Places, and is a quick easy way to see what’s around you, check out reviews, check-in, leave reviews, and take advantage of check-in offers. To further support this theory, just look at Groupon’s latest acquisition of Pelago, the makers of Whrrl.

Google has a big opportunity to synergize the local space by merging their local products.  An early indication of this was in March, when Marissa Mayer said, “I think that, ultimately, we do have too many products and we need to condense them.” With the demise of Hotpot, or the ‘graduation into Google Places’, there is clear consolidation.   

So what does Google Offers really mean?  With an expanding emphasis on their “Offers” product, there are certainly signals for another consolidation, and a stronger Google Places.

Phil Britton – Product Manager Location Based Services

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